Ally of Ukraine leader says force won't be used, ready for elections -report

by Reuters
Monday, 3 February 2014 22:31 GMT

KIEV, Feb 3 (Reuters) - A parliamentary ally of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was quoted as saying on Monday that Yanukovich had told his party he would not resort to force against protesters and was ready to hold early elections if a peaceful resolution to the national crisis cannot be found.

As quoted by online news site Ukrainska Pravda, Yuri Miroshnichenko told local television channel ICTV that the president had said to lawmakers from his Party of the Regions:

"We have every possibility of liberating administrative premises and even liberating Maidan by force ... I will never do that, because these are also our citizens."

Maidan, Kiev's Independence Square, has been an anti-government protest camp for more than two months. Protesters have also occupied public buildings in Kiev and other cities.

No comment was immediately available from the president.

Miroshnichenko said there had been discussions recently within the party about declaring a state of emergency, a move that could, among other things, let the government use troops.

"There will be no state of emergency," Miroshnichenko said.

"The president said that if politicians can't now come to an agreement, reach joint decisions and implement them, then the only democratic way of resolving the situation is early elections," the news site quoted the legislator as saying.

"And he (Yanukovich) said: 'Both you will face early elections and I will face early elections'," Miroshnichenko added, indicating that Yanukovich had spoken of both parliamentary and presidential elections.

The next presidential election is not due until next year, and a parliamentary election is not due until 2017. (Reporting by Alastair Macdonald)

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